This snake's a lot friendier than the garden variety - all 18 sprawling feet of it. It draws you in; you'll want to kick off your shoes and sink down deep. The snake sofa is as functional as it is long - twisting around to fit or fill any room with color. The snake's a piece of fabric made into a tube, closed at one end, stuffed, then closed at the other end. If you use hefty fabric - corduroy, felt, quilted cotton - you won't need batting or lining. A lightweight fabric (cotton) needs to be lined for a smooth look.

What you'll need to make an 18-foot snake (you can make your snake any length, of course):

6 1/2 yards of 56-inch-wide fabric.

Heavy-duty thread.

25 pounds of polyurethane pellets or about 20 pounds of either polyester fiberfill or shredded foam (upholstery shops have these).

Notes on stuffing:

Polyurethane pellets - comfortable, not cheap, hard to handle.

Polyester fiberfill - not cheap, handles easily.

Shredded foam - cheap, hard to handle.

Overstuff with pellets (they crush), understuff with others (for flexibility). Version No. 1, Simple Snake:

Cut 1/2 yard from the fabric and save for the ends. Lay out the remaining fabric on the floor, right side up. Fold it lengthwise and stitch the long edges together to make a tube. Stitch again for durability. Turn right side out. It's bulky, but not difficult.

Now for the ends: Stitch loosely around the edges of open ends. Pull th threads to gather fabric and make a small opening. Using the fabric you have saved, cut two circles slightly larger than the openings. Hem the rough edges. Using a slip-stitch, sew one of the circles to one end of the snake, covering the opening and gathering stitches. Stuff the snake, close the other end in the same way. Version No. 2, Quilted Snake:

For the batting and lining you'll need four 81 by 96-inch sheets of Polyfill quilt batting (firmer than most) and three old double bed-size flat sheets for lining.

Cut out and sew on the bulky batting in sections, so you'll be able to handle it on the sewing machine. If you use a fabric with a pattern repeat, cut two strips of batting (for a double layer) to fit each repeat; for solidcolored fabric, cut strips every 24 inches; for the fabric shown, cut batting to fit the strips (strips should meet in the middle of the darker stripe between colors). Then sew each piece of batting to the two long edges. Continue cutting, pinning, sewing until you have batting sewn on the entire snake. Cut the lining (sheets) to fit the snake; you'll have to piece them. Sew the three layers together - fabric, batting and lining - on all edges. Finish as before.